The papers are divided into eight basic series, and are arranged in the following order: Correspondence; Photographs; Biographical Data; Newspaper Clippings; Campaign Records; Speeches; Statements; and Reference Material.
The Stephens papers are basically centered around his unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Virginia from December 1960, until his loss to Albertis Harrison in the Democratic Party primary in July 1961. The papers dealing with the campaign period reflect Stephens' stand on various campaign issues, and the frustrations of his attempt to win the Democratic nomination against the opposition of the Byrd organization. The majority of the papers prior to the 1960-1961 primary race focus on the issue of Massive Resistance to racial integration in Virginia schools, and date back to the early 1950s. The collection contains neither Stephens' private papers, nor the records of his service in the Virginia General Assembly, or as Lieutenant Governor.